Coyote bites 3 at park then officer searching woods: VA cops


A coyote, not the one pictured here, bit four people, including an officer, in Virginia, officials said. It’s since been found dead.


A coyote was found dead after it bit four people, including a police officer, in Virginia, officials said.

On Saturday, June 4, Fairfax County Police said on Twitter that officers were “investigating a report” that a coyote bit three adults at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield, which is about 97 miles north of Richmond.

The three adults suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The park was closed June 4, and residents were warned to watch out for “an abnormally aggressive coyote.” On Sunday, June 5, the coyote was seen lurking near Carrleigh Parkway and heading toward the park, police said.

Later on June 5, police said the coyote bit an officer who was searching the woods around the area.

“The officer discharged his firearm to end (the) attack,” police said. “The coyote was found dead nearby.”

The officer was taken to a hospital. Police did not release information about his condition.

The park reopened 3 p.m. Eastern time June 5.

Attacks are ‘rare’

Coyotes are found across Virginia, including in the state’s urban and suburban areas, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. They’re “especially active” during the day in spring and summer as they’re searching for food to feed their young.

“Coyotes are normally secretive and have a natural fear of humans,” the department said. “However, coyotes living near human development can become accustomed to the presence of people, particularly if they are being fed (intentionally or unintentionally).”

Those that become accustomed to people may act bold or aggressive.

“Attacks on humans are rare, but not unheard of,” the department said. “Avoiding potential coyote conflicts requires that you become aware of coyote behavior in your area and take the necessary preventative measures to keep them from being attracted to your property.”

To prevent coyotes from becoming attracted to your property, the department recommends:

  • keeping trash inside until pickup day or putting it in an animal-proof container
  • making sure your pet’s bowls are empty after feeding them outside
  • removing bird feeders
  • cleaning up fallen seed
  • picking up any fallen fruit from around trees

The department also recommends closing up “openings under and into your building” and removing or cleaning up any “brushy areas” around the home. It’s also important to not feed wildlife around your property.

Small pets should be supervised when outside, and dogs should be kept on a leash, the department said.

Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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